Monday, April 26, 2010

10 Things I Learned on the City Bus

So, since my last post, I managed to catch the city bus. I thank a higher power for this experience, and I wanted to share some of the really important knowledge that I have learned along the way. I think, at some point, I’ll publish one of those bathroom books with these 10 things and more J

(1) With a HS diploma, you can get any job you want. This little tidbit of advice was free of charge and was repeated for 20 straight minutes. In addition to this, these HS diploma jobs will earn you $900-$1000 every Friday. For those of you slower folks, that comes out to about $4000/month and $48,000 a year…What have I been doing for the last 7 years of my life?!!!

(2) On job applications (well at least the Holiday Inn’s application), they only ask about felonies within the past 5 years…lucky, gah.

(3) They make jerseys that say “illest” on the front. I want one of those.

(4) Inbred people do still exist, and not only in the movie “Wrong Turn.” In fact, they are among us (gasp).

(5) Age is determined by a red line. It’s true. Up to 2 children under 6 years old can ride the bus free with a paying adult, and their age is determined by height (i.e., a red line on the bus). I guess red lines are more trustworthy than parents.

(6) Discmans are still in circulation…and if you have one, you are required to put your hand in the air for Jesus and forget you are on the city bus

(7) If 80 year old women with no teeth strike up a conversation with you, it’s best to nod your head and smile…it’s sort of like lip syncing “Watermelon, Watermelon, Watermelon” when you don’t know the lyrics to the song…by that I mean, you at least have a chance of looking like you know what is being said.

(8) Reading, texting, headphones, or any other “I’m busy” techniques will NOT work. All normal social rules go out the window on the bus. Prepare yourself to snuggle with the masses and conversate (I know this isn’t a word.)

(9) Licking your lips 8 million times in 3 bus stops is not a sign of chapped lips, but rather drug addiction.

(10) And lastly, Michael Vick is ready to ball out in Philadelphia. Atlanta made a BIG mistake…now they stuck with that Matt Ryan character (My reaction: I know, sucks for the Falcons to make it to the playoffs with a rookie QB who doesn’t kill animals)…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How Amos Lee of Me.

My favorite line of a song is from Amos Lee’s “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight.” Interesting song title, I confess, but I will avoid the immaturity that could easily become pervasive in my blog, and move along to the lyrics.

“But the people on the streets

Out on buses or on feet

We all got the same blood flow.”

I don’t know why that line resonates with me. Maybe my connection with all kinds of people is why I chose to be in a “helping profession.” Or, on the contrary, maybe I just like the way the line rhymes Given my own lyrical creations, this could indeed be the case…Fat Cheryl, Alaskan Love, and Hey Amos were quite the rhyming tunes J In actuality, I do think it’s a meaningful message and one we often forget. So today, I tried not to forget Amos Lee’s message. I decided to ride the city bus.

My decision to ride the city bus was only the beginning of my journey. I would like to think that the honorable reasons to ride the city bus were the critical factors in the decision making process. I really wish I could say, “I just wanted to be Green.” That would be so Asheville of me. Or so “Kerry” of me. For those of you that know that our staunch Republican buddy just named his firstborn son after a Democratic Presidential candidate, you might understand why I chose John Kerry as my Democratic environmentalist reference. The real factor that determined my decision was that I don’t have a parking permit for the UGA campus, so I needed an alternative. Carpooling was becoming “mooching” in my mind. I think I learned the word “mooch” from my MS lunchroom. Anyway, riding the city bus was more of a “have no choice” decision, but I can honestly say that there was a part of me that thought I should get in the mix with folks of similar blood flow that I don’t mix with very often. How Amos Lee of me.

I was very thorough in planning this ordeal. I checked the Athens Transit online, determined that bus route 5 stops at the YMCA (one min from my casa) and also at the Tate Center (one min from the Psych bldg), and decided I would even catch the 8:25 bus instead of the 9:25 one just to be sure I was on time for the 10 AM lab meeting. I was impressed with myself. Super impressed that I overcame the days of being late to school (thanks to mom) but even more impressed by my conviction to do the unthinkable. Okay, I agree that that was a TOTAL exaggeration. It’s a fucking bus ride. I get it. But I still was impressed with myself.

I arrived to the bus stop early. 8:13 to be precise. I even photo documented myself sitting on the lonely green stool.

It was actually kind of peaceful. Under a tree next to the YMCA, breezy morning, feeling thin because I’ve been sick for 2 days. Yes, thinness brings peace no matter how it arrives. For those of you that can’t understand that, I hate you. People kept driving by looking at me. Of course, I assumed they were wondering why I was riding the city bus. That is probably an extremely biased thought, which I recognize. Rheeda Miller (I mean Walker) says that recognizing that you have biased thoughts is the first step to changing them. I hope this isn’t a 12 step program.

Back on track. So, at exactly 8:25 I hear the rumble of the Athens Transit Bus. I could start smelling blood flow just like my own. Untrue, but I did hear the bus. It was then that I started sweating. Why was the bus traveling down the other side of the road? I thought about all of the times I had seen OTHER people ride the city bus and realized with a faint heart that buses don’t usually stop across the street for waiting passengers. These buses don’t have STOP signs or whiny children. Then, I saw the other bus stop across the street about 200 yards away. Even thought I hate the FML acronym, I found it appropriate at this moment. As the bus passed me, I awkwardly stuck out my arm at the driver like, “Hey, I don’t want to be too obvious that it’s my first time riding the city bus, but I sort of do at the same time, because I need to get to the Psych Bldg.” He clearly didn’t understand all of what was being said with my arm gesture. He waved back, and sped past me wondering what the hell was flowing in my white friendly blood at 8:25 AM.

All I could do then was follow bus #5 to school as I called the Clinic to ask for a parking pass for the day. I got a picture of the back of bus #5 at a red light, but the AM sun only allowed a shadow of the city bus to be seen.

Maybe that’s fitting though. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to experience Bus #5 today, because I was in the wrong frame of mind and doing things for the wrong reasons. I think I’ll try again next week and think about another part of Amos’s song.

“Sometimes, we forget what we got.

Who we are, oh, who we’re not.

I think we got a chance to make it right.

Keep it loose, Keep it tight.”

So, next week, I’m gonna make it right. I’m gonna loosely saunter 200 yards farther down the opposite side of the street, and hopefully I’ll figure out how to keep it tight this weekend.